Will E-commerce Ever Evolve Into Social Commerce?

Will E-commerce ever evolve into Social Commerce?

In our last piece, we highlighted 10 things an e-commerce website owner needs to do to build a winning website. In this post, we shall examine trends that point to e-commerce no longer being a click and buy experience but rather an experience predicated on social proof.

In 2005, a venture capitalist named David Beisel came up with the term “social commerce”. He inadvertently used the term to portray a future in which people would buy products based on recommendations from friends and family on the social media networks they frequented.

Things, however, have not exactly panned out as he anticipated. Most visitors to social media networks do so to satisfy their voyeuristic needs and research is showing that shopping is the last thing on a social media users mind when they log into their social media accounts.

The lack of supposed interest in buying on social media networks prompted Twitter to pull the “Buy” button off their social media network and led Facebook to alter their strategy on whether their social media network can moonshine as an e-commerce site.

So, one has to wonder at this point. Will e-commerce will ever evolve into social commerce? At syntaxNinjas, despite evidence in the short term showing the contrary, we believe e-commerce will ultimately be integrated with social media and we are basing our hypotheses on the “where did you get that?” effect.

Internet users have become so saturated with ads that a certain disconnect termed ad blindness has been coined to describe the effect. To elaborate on ad blindness, consumers no longer trust the word of the advertiser on the usefulness of the product they wish to sell.

Ad blockers are being installed at alarming rates on browsers all across the web making it more and more difficult for merchants to get their messages across to potential buyers. The launch and speedy adoption of a new internet browser called Brave, which aims to allow internet users an ad-free browsing experience on the internet is another example of the dire state of internet advertising. So how should advertisers get people to shop online?

Adding buy buttons to business pages might just not be the answer. If I signed onto Instagram to watch cat videos, I might not be too inclined to change gears and buy the latest timberland boots. However, if my friend were to like a photo of a pair of boots and I saw that on my feed, the boots might temporarily get my attention. In other words, social proof needs to be built into e-commerce as people tend to trust the opinion of their friends and family when they want to shop for an item.

Let us Segway for a second and examine why e-commerce is yet to dethrone in-store shopping as the go-to method of product purchase. In our opinion, this is because most e-commerce sites have yet to properly mimic the social atmosphere involved with in-store shopping. It is much more fun to have an in-store shopping experience with your girlfriends where you get to try clothes on and comment on each other’s physiques than to do so online. Another problem with e-commerce is the inability to try on the products before you buy them. Augmented reality aims to rectify this problem but we will examine that topic in a different post.

Some social networks are beginning take note and are adjusting their strategies in trying to convert their social media platforms into medium to exchange goods and services. Pinterest allows you buy products you like via the business pages of shops you follow. While “like to know it” allows you to sign up for their platform and get a notification in your inbox with links to products you liked while browsing images of products registered with them on Instagram.

Another trend that points to the ultimate integration of social media and e-commerce or commerce, in general, is the rise of digital influencers. These influencers are increasingly used as spokespeople for brands who want to reach the followers they have been able to aggregate on their platform over time.

Facebook and Twitter might have ultimately done away with the buy buttons on their websites but as long as they have users that sometimes exceed the populations of some of the world’s most populous countries aggregated on their site. The guardians of these platforms will find ways to be middlemen in the age old pastime of exchanging goods and services.

Will E-commerce Ever Evolve Into Social Commerce
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Will E-commerce Ever Evolve Into Social Commerce
Trends are showing people not wanting to use social media platforms to buy products. We, at syntaxNinjas believe otherwise. This article aims to illustrate our opinion on the topic.
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Ade Olumofin
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Ade Olumofin

Founder and CEO at syntaxNinjas LLC
Ade Olumofin is the Founder and CEO at syntaxNinjas LLC. He is a graduate of the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC and an avid fan of technology.
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About Ade Olumofin 24 Articles
Ade Olumofin is the Founder and CEO at syntaxNinjas LLC. He is a graduate of the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC and an avid fan of technology.